Thursday, September 24, 2009
ACFW Conference 2009 - Day TWO
Woke up early (as in, 4:00 AM early), and tried to get ready as quietly as possible so I wouldn't wake Roomie. Although, I have to say, it's really tough to keep a hair dryer quiet. Slipped out of the room by 5:00 and padded down to the lobby where there is free wireless internet. Checked email and got some work done. Bought a Starbucks Caramel Latte and headed back upstairs to get dressed (Don't worry - I was already dressed, but only in sweats).
Breakfast on Friday morning was a buffet. Good stuff - particularly the ham and cheese crescent rolls thingies. Yum.
Worship followed breakfast (which was, of course, wonderful) and then Dr. Harry Kraus gave an excellent devotional on how small we are and how big God is. Definitely stirred up my faith!
Continuing Education workshops followed. This is a 5-hour workshop, broken up into two-days. There were several to choose from and I chose Jim & Tracie Peterson's Foundational Basics. Really good stuff. This class was more for beginners and I found that I knew most of the things they talked about, but still. It's always good to reiterate.
I had to sneak out of the session around 10:30 because of my appointment with editor, Sue Brower, of Zondervan. I was a bit nervous - I had never officially pitched a novel before. But hey, I had something to say that would break the ice a little. Sue lives in my home town of Grand Rapids (as that's where Zondervan is based). In fact, my 94-year-old grandma worked for Zondervan years and years and years ago. She then moved on to Baker Book House. Grandma worked in the office and had nothing to do with the publishing side, but I think that's cool, anyway.
So Sue wasn't too interested in my completed manuscipt. She said because of the "mom-lit" tone, it probably wouldn't be a good fit. (Guess it didn't help to rename my genre "women's fiction with elements of humor." LoL.) BUT...she did ask about my other WIP - the one that finaled in the mystery/suspense category this year. We talked a little about that one and she wants to see a partial. Yay! I hope to email that to her sometime next week.
I left the appointment very encouraged. Sue is uber-sweet.
Lunch on Friday and Saturday is special, because on every table there is the name of an editor or agent that will be hosting that particular table. The sooner you get to lunch, the more likely you will be able to sit with the editor or agent of your choice. I chose Barbara Scott's table, as she was my second choice for an editor appointment.
Barbara went around the table and asked us to tell her a little about ourselves and what we write. There were some really cool-sounding stories! When it was my turn, I did my spiel but didn't get the feeling that Barbara was too interested. Oh well....
Debbie Macomber spoke next. What an inspiring and motivating speaker. She talked about how she made a list of 30 people she wants to meet in her lifetime and how she has already met almost ALL of them. And this list includes people like George W. Bush, Elton John, and Barry Manilow! Go, Debbie!
Next, on to workshop electives. I attended Jeff Gerke's Understanding the Publication Process, which definitely shed some light on how it all works. And it's really not as simple as we sometimes think it is!
I then went to Sue Brower's workshop on profiling characters. More good stuff! We learned how to keep our characters' actions consistent with their personalities.
We had 3 hours of free time for dinner on Friday night. Most of that time was spent with my two critique partners, Heidi and Val. The picture on top of this post is of the three of us on awards night. Heidi and Val are awesome ladies and we had a wonderful time brainstorming and chatting about our appointments and manuscripts. Oh - inserting a CONGRATULATIONS VAL! for receiving a request for her full romance ms and a request for a partial of her fantasy novel. WOW!
After chatting, I had just enough time to grab a sandwich and eat it in my room before going down to the Late Night Agent Panel.
I chose to sit in on the agent panel featuring Natasha Kern and Mary Sue Seymour. It was very interesting and enlightening. They gave good information on what types of books they're looking for, what they do for authors, and what their expectations are.
By the time the panel ended, it was past my bedtime and my head was swimming with information, so I basically just headed up to the room for a good night's sleep.
Oh...sometime on Friday (can't remember when), I met another friend. Sally Hanan is a woman I met through FaithWriters. She decided to come to the conference at the last minute and I got to meet her for the first time. It was so nice to get to know her a bit. Here's a photo of Sally and me:
So are you getting a picture of how exhausting - and exhilarating - the conference is? Whew! And it's not over yet! I still have all day Saturday (including the Awards Banquet) to cover.